Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My thoughts about Towers In The Mist by Elizabeth Goudge

Christ Church in England
The setting of this book is at Christ Church, the home of Oxford University in England, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. One of the characters I found to be quite interesting was Sir Walter Raleigh and it intrigued me to read more about his real life and his accomplishments to see how it lined up with his character in the story. It also inspired me to investigate the history of Queen Elizabeth's visit to this church, as it had been established by her father King Henry VIII.  Upon some investigation, the queen did indeed speak to the faculty and students on September 5, 1566 and her speech can be read here.

Christ Church from the South-East side across the meadow

My favorite part about the book is within the pages of the last few chapters. It took me a year to read this book, as I like to read many books simultaneously so as to savor them. The first two thirds of this book were dragging for me, but it was well worth the effort. The profound words of Miss Goudge jumped off the pages in the last few chapters. I truly believe that she is the most exquisite author of beautiful literature. She is able to put ideas into words that make each sentence truly exquisite.

My goal in reading stories is to find the treasure! The treasure of golden nuggets that plant within my soul a truth to ponder that will grow within me a new way of thinking, so that I can become a better person. The golden thread that wound itself around my soul is the idea that peace and inspiration are two of the most important elements of our life on this earth.

Queen Elizabeth was giving her climactic speech to the people of Christ Church. It was an eloquent speech, although the real speech is different, I still enjoyed the spiritual depth and insight that Miss Goudge put into creating this speech. This part in the queen's speech really stopped me dead in my tracks! Through the pen of the author, Queen Elizabeth said:  

"...peace and inspiration are the two gifts of God that we most need in this our pilgrimage. If we have peace in our hearts the disorder and cruelty of of life will not overwhelm us with despair, and if we have even for a short while seen that flash of light from another country that men call inspiration we shall have the courage to attempt, however unsuccessfully, to do our part in quieting the disorder and quelling the cruelty; until we have battled through them and our rest is won....And it is in such houses as this my scholars that we find that peace and inspiration..."

Peace and Inspiration. Is my home a place of peace? Do I intentionally create an atmosphere of peace in my home? Do I intentional create an environment that breeds itself to inspirations? How can I make my home a place where these 2 fundamental facets of life are abundant?

My pondering continues. I am wondering how to really bring forth the atmosphere of peace and inspiration into my home. I must clean out the clutter of my mind, so that I can eliminate the clutter of things, in order that I might create room for that which brings forth peace and beauty. All things beautiful start with a seed of inspiration and must be planted into soil that has been prepared so it can nourish the seed to sprout and bloom into an idea which springs forth beauty.

From seed to sprout to blossom: beauty must be born from inspiration

"...he paused to look back at the towers and spires so delicately penciled against the glorious dawn sky that curved above them in the semblance of a great circle. He felt a pang of pain to think that he must so soon leave it all, but yet he had at the same time a glorious feeling of permanence. Raleigh at the last had been quite right. Love was an unchanging thing, not at emotion but an element in which the whole world had its being. All the lovely things upon earth, beauty and truth and courage, were faint pictures of it, even as the puddles of rain water at his feet held a faint picture of the fiery sky bending above the earth. And in the mind of man too the flame was caught and held; in his own mind whose strength and vigor made it possible for his eyes to see this picture of a fair city and a golden sky, for his heart to feel for Joyeuce an affection so strong that he dared to call it by the name of that eternal and embracing love."- Elizabeth Goudge, Towers In The Mist